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Use the modal verb "should" when indicating that something is a good idea or when making a recommendation:

  • You should wake up early in the morning to get a good start on the day.
  • A student should be serious about studying in order to be successful in school.
  • If a man wants to get married, he should be emotionally and financially prepared for the commitment of marriage.
  • We should try to visit as many interesting places as possible when we take our trip to France.
  • The government should do as much as it possibly can to help the people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The word "should" is made negative with the addition of "not" or "never."

  • You shouldn’t eat a lot of junk food because it’s not healthy for you.
  • You should never use your cell phone to send text messages while you are driving.
  • Students should not talk back to the teacher.
  • They really shouldn’t do that.

Questions are often formed using the word "should" when asking for advice or ideas:

  • Where should we go to eat lunch?
  • Who should he call for the information?
  • What time should they arrive at the airport?
  • How much should we tip the waitress?
  • What should I do first? What should I do second?

(Click here for an exercise to practice asking questions using the word "should.")

Questions using "should" are also asked when questioning the reasons for laws or policies:

  • Why should I have to work on the weekend?
  • Why should we have to pay so much money in taxes?
  • Why shouldn’t the school just close down for the day if it’s expecting a major snowstorm in this area?


A person should exercise in order to stay fit.

Click here to go to the Word of the Day page.


Published on August 30, 2017


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